Evidence of homing behavior in the coral reef mysid Mysidium gracile

Twining, Benjamin S., John J. Gilbert, Nicholas S. Fisher

Limnol. Oceanogr., 45(8), 2000, 1845-1849 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2000.45.8.1845

ABSTRACT: Mysid swarms at benthic coral reef sites disperse into the water column in the evening and reform at the exact same location the following morning, possibly reflecting homing behavior of individual mysids. To facilitate tracking of individual mysids, we radiolabeled part of a swarm of Mysidium gracile with the gamma-emitting radioisotope 65 Zn and released the labeled animals back to the focal swarm on a reef in Discovery Bay, Jamaica. We collected the focal swarm and surrounding swarms the next morning to determine the location of the labeled individuals following nighttime dispersal. Seventy-seven percent of the radiolabeled mysids returned to the same site the next day, and 13% of the labeled individuals were recovered from other nearby swarms. This recovery rate cannot be attributed to random reaggregation and suggests that mysids use a homing behavior to facilitate swarm reformation. This is the first unequivocal evidence of homing behavior in demersal zooplankton.

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